Since I am a revert and my family and some of my friends are non-Muslims, I get to hear this question about whether or not I will be celebrating St. Valentine's Day A LOT. In this post I will try my best to explain why Muslims actually don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day and what I personally think about this celebration. Ok, let’s begin with a story behind this celebration.
From dozens of different versions, here is one legend I chose. Around 200 A.D the Romanian Emperor Claudius II was extremely passionate about creating a strong army for his empire. He was trying to do everything he could to succeed. He also knew human psychology quite well and since he figured out that any man, who would join the army would refuse to fight because of the fear to leave his family, the Emperor did not allow young men to marry. During this time, there was an activist and priest named St. Valentine, who was going against the Emperor. He tried to unite young couples and therefore he was the “closest friend” for all lovers. When the Emperor heard about what was going on, he casted the priest Valentine into prison. Gossips that priest Valentine healed the daughter of the prison guard reached the Emperor. On February 14th the priest Valentine was executed. According to the legend, he used to write love letters to the daughter of the prison guard where he expressed his love and passion to her, which was apparently the reason of her healing. After St. Valentine was executed, every February 14th lovers celebrate this day in his memory by arranging all kinds of festivals in which the main subject are lovers. Now, let’s talk about why Muslims don’t celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. Every Muslim knows that there are only two official celebrations, which are Eid-Al Fitr (“Feast of Fasting”, which comes right after the holy month of Ramadan and lasts for three days) and Eid-Al Adha (“Festival of the Sacrifice” which is celebrated on 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days). So, just to be clear, it’s a whole week of celebrations in one year. Our Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said: “Every people has its festival and this is our festival. …”(Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqim 1: 207). Therefore, all other celebrations rather than two Eids are considered non-Islamic and are celebrated by the pagans and non-Muslims. If a Muslim, however, do participate in celebration of those festivals, which are not Islamic, he is basically showing an act of kufr (disbelieving). When someone joins such festivals and celebrations, he becomes disobedient to the commands of Allah (SWT) and commits a major sin. Prophet Muhammed (may Allah has mercy on him) said: “It is not permissible for the Muslims to imitate them in anything that is uniquely a part of their festivals, whether it be food, clothing, bathing, lighting fires, refraining from a regular habit, doing acts of worship or anything else. It is not permissible to give a feast or to give gifts, or to sell anything that will help them to do that for that purpose, or to allow children and others to play games that are part of festivals, or to wear one’s adornments” (Majmu al-Fatwa 25: 329). Based on the teachings of our beloved Prophet (salalahu aleihi wasallam), we can conclude that celebrating the festivals, which have nothing to do with Islam are forbidden. So, "why some Muslims do celebrate St. Valentines Day?!"… I would answer this question by saying that surely every Muslim is different. All people have different relationship with Allah subhan wa taala and approach to the religion. Perhaps, some Muslims are simply too afraid to stand out of the crowd and to show their individuality, so they prefer to follow the crowd. Social influence through the mass media, sales promotions, or simply the lack of proper Islamic knowledge regarding festivities play a big role in why some Muslims fell into this trap.
If you really think about some consequences of St. Valentine’s Day, you will understand why Allah subhan wa taala has commanded us to stay away from such festival. During St. Valentine’s Day, a lot of family couples tend to argue more than usual just because a wife was expecting her husband to bring flowers or a gift, but he didn’t. She immediately thinks that he doesn’t love her and he doesn’t care about her just because TODAY is the Day of all lovers and he didn’t bring her anything special. I’ve also read that some marriages even break apart because of things like that. How sad is that, isn’t it? Some Muslims women think that since St. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of expressing love, it is a perfect time to get an extra attention from her husband. But really, for Muslims Valentine’s Day is EVERY DAY. By saying that I mean that we should express love and care for each other every single day all year around (not just once a year on a certain day). Ideally, husbands should not be reminded once a year that it’s time to show love; they should, however, do it on a regular basis. As well as wives should not expect their husbands to do something special just because it’s a Valentine’s Day; they maybe should become more familiar with Islamic rulings regarding such festivals and their origin. When it comes to single people, they might feel especially lonely this day. Such an artificially created romantic atmosphere makes them feel extremely lonely and unloved, or even worse it could be a trigger to turn into haram relationship in order to fit in and fully experience the celebration. Any time I think about things like that, I just say keep saying: Alhamdullilah (Praise be to God). Indeed, Allah (SWT) knows best what is good for us because He does not want us to suffer or to experience misguiuded feelings. Therefore, He eliminated all unnecessary celebrations because He knows us much better than we do know ourselves.
"And indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein." (Quran 50:16).
The Muslim should be proud of his religion and should not be a weak one who simply would follow the crowd. I ask Allah to protect us from forbidden and evil and to always guide us to the right path. I hope that this post was beneficial for you in sha Allah and I hope that I was able to answer some of the questions that you might had in mind.
Feel free to ask me questions in the comments section, and I will be happy to answer!